ELON, N.C. – The Elon University softball team continued its excellence at the plate in the Phoenix’s doubleheader sweep over North Carolina Central on Sunday, March 14, at Hunt Softball Park. Elon took game one, 8-4, before ending the day with a 10-3 victory in the nightcap.
The Phoenix (6-7) swept the Eagles (0-15) in the three-game set and improved to 15-0 all-time against its intrastate foe.
“We had to focus on each game, each pitch all weekend,” said Elon head coach Kathy Bocock. “We worked hard on Thursday and Friday offensively to get our kids to have some confidence and worked together as a group. It was good to see them come out with that confidence and it resulted in us doing well this weekend.”
Game One: Elon 8, N.C. Central 4
Elon got off to a rough start at the beginning of game one, falling behind the Eagles 2-0 after the top of the first. The Phoenix was able to respond in its home half as the maroon and gold had its first three batters reach before Ally Repko cleared them on a double to left center to put Elon up 3-2. A fielding error by NCCU helped Repko cross the dish as Elon went ahead 4-2.
The Eagles tied the game up in the top of the third inning. Hailey Batista reached on a one-out single to third before Joirea Dumas drove a sharp hit over the fence down the left field line as the homer knotted the game at four-all.
The Phoenix answered again with a run in the bottom of the third. The Eagles sat down the first two batters of the inning before Raelyn McGarry reached on a walk. McGarry then stole second to move into scoring position, which the Phoenix capitalized on off a Lauryn Clarke single to center. The RBI scored McGarry and put the Phoenix back in front, 5-4.
Both teams were silent offensively in the next two innings, but the Phoenix added some insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth. Repko hit her second home run of the weekend on a three-run hot shot to right center and solidified the Phoenix’s lead to 8-4. The Eagles were set down in order in the top of the seventh to close out game one.
Repko went 3-for-4 with six RBI, a home run and a double to lead the Phoenix offense. Grace Kiser also had a pair of base hits, going 2-for-3.
McKenzie Weber (1-2) picked up her first win of the season, going the distance with five hits and four runs allowed, but only two earned.
Game Two: Elon 10, N.C. Central 3
In game two, Elon jumped out with the lead with four runs in the bottom of the first. The Phoenix loaded the bases with one out after a Repko walk before scoring on the next at bat off a North Carolina Central error. A Gabi Schaal sacrifice fly and a Carley Davis single scored the next three runs for the Phoenix, who took a 4-0 lead over the Eagles.
A pair solo home runs by the Phoenix in the second helped extended its advantage. Clarke and Rebecca Murray both added their second homers of the season and increased Elon’s lead to 6-0 after the second.
North Carolina Central responded with its first run of the game in the top half of the third off a sacrifice bunt to narrow the gap to 6-1. Elon however came back with two more runs in its home half of the fourth as Mekayla Frazier hit her second home run of the season on a leadoff solo shot to left. Murray then drove in Allie Eith on a double to center stretching Elon’s lead to 8-1.
NCCU chipped away at the Phoenix’s lead, scoring a run in both the top of the fifth and sixth. Elon however tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the sixth on a Repko triple, making the score 10-3.
The Eagles kept things interesting after having a pair of runners reach first and second with one out in the seventh. Elon however turned a double play on a lineout to Keagan Goldwait at first, ending the threat and completing the doubleheader and series sweep.
Murray (2-for-4) and Davis (2-for-3) both had multi-hit games for the Phoenix, who recorded eight total hits in the contest. Both players also drove in a pair of runs as did Repko.
Kenna Quinn won her third straight game, improving to 5-3 on the year. The Boiling Springs, S.C., native allowed one run and three hits in 4.0 innings of action with a pair of strikeouts.
The Phoenix is set to host No. 13 Duke on Wednesday, March 17, at Hunt Softball Park. That game is scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. start.